Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Erica and Erica

[Photography ©Erica Shires]

Erica Shires shot Erica Tanov's fall collection on location at The Spring in Berkeley, California. (And Coralie Langston-Jones modeled!) At first glance, Shires's poetic take on the place made me think a little of the garden ruins scene in 1998's Great Expectations. Don't get me wrong -- I only made a loose connection. The gardens surrounding the John Hopkins Spring estate don't quite have the utterly wild, completely overgrown wonderland look of the movie. But I was curious about the wide terraces, so I did some Googling.

Turns out engineer and landscape architect, Mark Daniels, originally designed the grounds of the early-20th-century house. If you have a budding interest in the history of West Coast gardens, he is an intriguing man to study. The Spring Mansion happens to be for sale, and while I'm partial to Shires's artistic study, some of Red Oak Realty's images show breathtaking Bay views.

Now I'm off to track down a copy of the new Elle Decoration, UK. It seems Erica Tanov's own much-more-intimately-scaled and highly personal house is featured in the magazine. When I come back, we'll look at a terrific San Francisco-area organization, Creativity Explored.

[Photo my own]

Also of interest: Following Lacey, Possibilities, Pablove Shutterbugs, and Gertrude Jekyll.


Tanov Today

[Shown directly above and below, Erica Tanov's bedroom. Photographs by Melanie Acevedo from Undecorate, Clarkson Potter 2011.]

I still can't get enough of the bohemian-meets-refined mix in Erica Tanov's low-key, de Gournay-lined bedroom. With its uncontrived vibe, it was such a natural fit for Christiane Lemieux's book, Undecorate. Originally, the exquisite hand-painted wallpaper was destined for Tanov's San Francisco shop but she ended up using it at home.

I wish I could report that I spotted a leftover panel for sale at Tanov's online store. No luck there. However, since my last Tanov post, her new fabric webshop has been launched. Now offered is an expanded array of textiles from her past collections encompassing Tanov-designed printed silks and cottons as well as the more tailored plaids, stripes, and solids. Fabrics are sold by the yard at surprisingly reasonable prices.

[Teal Shadow Stripe linen from Erica Tanov.]

[Sepia Shadow Stripe linen from Erica Tanov.]

[Morgan Blanket Plaid wool from Erica Tanov.]

Speaking of innovative, creative women, we don't have too much longer to wait for the Gibbes's big fall exhibition, Breaking Down Barriers. Yesterday, the countdown hit the two month mark. The show opens in Charleston, South Carolina October 28 and will continue through January 8, 2012.

Also of interest: Europeanoiserie.

This just in: another view of Tanov's bedroom, styled with an incredible Moroccan wedding blanket, can be seen in the September issue of San Francisco's 7 x 7.  Look for more glimpses in Tanov's collection archives, spring 2009.


Framing It

[Photo my own]

Considering my mild obsession with frames (both time-worn vintage and museum quality), it's no surprise that I'm looking forward to Beaux Arts & Crafts: Masterpieces of American Frame Design 1890 – 1920. The exhibition opens at the High in just a few weeks, September 25, and will be on view through November 27. It's a relatively small show featuring fifteen outstanding frames handcrafted in the U.S. during a period thought to represent a pinnacle in American frame-making.

[Stanford White, Frame, tabernacle style, gold leaf, bole, and gesso on hand-carved wood,
collection of Edgar O. Smith via the High Museum of Art.]

One Duke, No Duchess: Some Quick Design Connections

[Old Liberty of London ad via Selvedge, issue 6, Anna Buruma's story At Liberty.]

This cool Liberty of London ad spotlighting Duckpond, a 20th-century textile design adapted from 17th-century Chinese lacquer-work, leads us to actual lacquerware at The Met.

[Seven-Lobed Platter with Scenes of Children at Play, China, Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), 14th century, Carved red lacquer; Diam. 21 7/8 in. (55.5 cm). Promised Gift of Florence and Herbert Irving. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.]

Red & Black: Chinese Lacquer 13th-16th Century celebrates three recent gifts to the museum and is scheduled to open September 6, 2011. On view along with roughly 60 examples of lacquerware (gorgeous boxes, trays, plates, bowls, and a show-stopping painted screen from The Met's collection) will be the latest additions. As described by the museum, they are: the red lacquer Plate with Two Flycatchers and Hollyhocks; a black lacquer tray with mother-of-pearl inlay depicting flowering plums and birds of various species; and a carved red lacquer box, with a curvilinear geometric design often found in early Chinese lacquer.

Following up on Tuesday's post -- not to mention the rash of Songbird-related posts in 2007 -- look for a lovely use of the Bennison linen in Martha Stewart Living, September 2011. It's MSL editor-in-chief Pilar Guzman's brownstone photographed by Matthew Hranek. (Also check out the animated inspiration board included with the mag's digital version.) You can get a tiny glimpse, above, on my iPad.

This weekend, my thoughts are with everyone up and down the East Coast. Stay safe!


Rolling Along

[Rouleau or textile printing "roller" via the Musée de la Toile de Jouy.]

Many thanks to new Enfilade contributor, Hélène Bremer, for providing the inspiration for my object of the day -- an old textile roller used in the production of toile. It's an example of the pieces on view at the Musée de la Toile de Jouy in France. With all of my past posts about the beauty of wood blocks and other tools, I thought it would be nice to finally highlight a rouleau.

Paris-based Hélène recently put together an exhibition sketch of Parties de Campagne, Jardins et champs dans la toile imprimée XVIIIe-XIXe siècle. --  a gathering of over 200 printed fabrics. Check it out here. The show continues through November 20, 2011.


Entwined and Embroidered

[Photos my own. Vines at Studioplex.]

[Studioplex last Saturday; Set up for Habitat for Humanity event.]

I think on more than one occasion I've mentioned that I have a thing for vines. And after seeing Sibella Court's photos of vine-covered rooms at Le Sirenuse, the Amalfi Coast hotel is appearing regularly in my day dreams. For now, though, a local urban escape is still the industrial-meets-romantic courtyard at Studioplex in the Old Fourth Ward.

 [Reindeer Embroidery card via the V & A]

Earthy scenes must have been on someone's mind at the V & A, too. I know that even a vague mention of the holidays this early will elicit a few eye rolls (I just want to savor the end of summer myself) but late August/September is a time when a lot of card designs are traditionally released.  For 2011, the museum is offering a square card, Reindeer Embroidery, which is a detail of the 17th-century Abigail Pett Bed Hanging embroidered in crewel wool on a linen and cotton ground. A nice find for textile junkies. More on crewelwork here and here. Now back to seasonal fare...

Detail Oriented

[The Asian vessels shown in this V & A grouping don't specifically relate to The Leopard -- apart from the vivid colors -- I just like the vignette. The piece on the far right is earthenware, Korean, with a crackled celadon glaze and dates from the 15th century.]

Now that Steven's piece about The Leopard has been published in today's NY Times, I can share two more details about the film that grabbed my attention. If you watch it tonight on TCM, look for the brilliantly colored bottles and decanters in the prince's expansive bathroom and take note of the flowers throughout the movie. See what you think. Period-accurate arrangements or fun 1960s poetic license, like Claudia Cardinale's hair?

[A grainy picture of the movie playing on my computer screen.] 

Also of interest: A Colorful Conversation.

Behind the White Curtains

[Photo my own]

Earlier this summer, I mentioned Luchino Visconti's 1960s film, The Leopard, in conjunction with billowing white curtains and decorator Michael Smith. Since then, I actually made time to see the entire visual feast. Even had an opportunity to chat about it with New York Times writer, Steven Karutz. The always enlightening Emile de Bruijn weighed in, too, along with Michael and another enthusiastic Visconti fan, Charlotte Moss. Check out Steven's terrific piece here. It's very timely because The Leopard airs tonight on Turner Classic Movies.


August Rush 2011

 [Please click to enlarge. Credits follow below.]
[Beautiful rolls of chartreuse bookcloth tape spotted at Paper Source.]

[Sea-foam green Thai ceramics from The Loaded Trunk.]

It's time for my mixed greens -- the August inspiration board of verdant hues. Although I have to say, this year, I've seen more lush shades in the September issues of Vogue (French and American) than around the neighborhood. Still, some of my own current nature pictures are combined above with old tear sheets and objects that caught my eye.  

Clockwise from the top left: costume designer Emi Wada's work in House of Flying Daggers from Selvedge, issue 13; my own snapshot, ivy-covered house Druid Hills; 19th-century Chinese jade bowl, The Sylmaris Collection, gift of George Coe Graves, 1929, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; swatches of Moore & Giles leather; Muriel Brandolini's Chartreuse 5; Paul Smith Park Street storefront as seen in Selvedge, issue 10 -- remember this video? ; three of my own images -- East Lake Golf Club, found magnolia branches and experiments with pottery; 19th-century Edo period Japanse jade ojime (bead), bequest of Stephen Whitney Phoenix, 1881, The Met; vines growing in the Old Fourth Ward.

BTW: Green: The Color and the Cause continues at The Textile Museum through September 11, 2011. Find August Rush 2010 and 2009 here.


The Birdless Eighties

 [Photo my own]

[Gilly Newberry of Bennison photographed by Richard Nicholson for Selvedge issue 6]

Christmas came early this week. I discovered that older back issues of Selvedge (meaning 0 - 13) are now available for iPad enjoyment. Pouring over issue 6, with its blossom focus, I paused to read Beth Smith's piece about Bennison founder, Gilly Newberry, and the fabric house's collection of bird, bee, and floral prints. Throughout the 2000s, bird motifs were so popular. And as this tour of The Met's collection demonstrates, birds are a perennial favorite in art history.  But in the 1980s, it seems bird print fabric went out when the pink boom boxes came in.

[Detail, Songbird cerise on beige via Bennison]

Smith writes that Newberry loves old document fabrics just as they are: "When recreating them as Bennison fabrics, few alterations are made to the original." Although a minor change in scale or new coloway may get the green light, the draughtsman's lines are left alone. That said, when birds fell out of favor in the 80s, Bennison omitted a peacock motif from the reproduction of a spectacular archived print. As big as they've been of late, apparently birds were most in vogue (on chintz) in the early 19th century.

[Image via Tindalls]

One more fun tidbit from Selvedge, issue 30: Newberry uses lawyers' India Pink tape on her packages and presents.

Also of interest: The Karun Collection and On the Borderline Again.


What's In Store

 [Unless otherwise noted, photos my own.]

On Saturday, I stopped by Ann Mashburn for some glass beads from Ghana.

Although woven cloth and basketry -- not beadwork -- will be the big focus of The Textile Museum's major fall exhibition, Weaving Abstraction: Kuba Textiles and the Woven Art of Central Africa, something about my new necklace's thick, natural fiber cord made me think about the upcoming show and wonder when the catalogue will land in the museum shop.  

Well, apparently very soon. Vanessa Drake Moraga's book is scheduled to be released September October 1. Among the pages will be 142 never-before-published African textiles and baskets from the region now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo -- geometric and abstracted patterns that inspired Western designers and artists throughout the 20th century.

If you have plans to be in Boston this fall, don't forget Global Patterns: Dress and Textiles in Africa continues through January 8, 2012 at the MFA. Extraordinary beadwork is on view in this exhibition. In fact, MFA Textile and Costume Society members have an opportunity to attend Bedazzled by Beadwork: The Splendor of the Ndebele Culture of South Africa, a special related lecture, on November 17. The general public is invited to the Global Patterns gallery talk on October 19.

Related past posts:

Into Africa
Kelly en Perles
Material World II


[Lori Vrba Rebecca's Palm 2010, selenium and sepia toned silver gelatin print - 20x20 print is an edition of 10 and starts at $1000 unframed. Posted with permission from Jennifer Schwartz Gallery.]

[Lori Vrba Touch 2010, selenium and sepia toned silver gelatin print - 20x20 print is an edition of 10 and starts at $1000 unframed. Posted with permission from Jennifer Schwartz Gallery.]

[Lori Vrba Braids 2010, selenium and sepia toned silver gelatin print - 20x20 print is an edition of 10 and starts at $1000 unframed. Posted with permission from Jennifer Schwartz Gallery.]

Some moms bring an iPad or iPhone. Others cram books and magazines into tote bags. But to occupy herself as she waited during her daughter's piano lessons at Emmerson Farm, Lori Vrba brought along a camera. The setting was just so rich with potential.

 [Lori Vrba Horse Water 2010, selenium and sepia toned silver gelatin print - 20x20 print is an edition of 10 and starts at $1000 unframed. Posted with permission from Jennifer Schwartz Gallery.]

In her artist's statement, Vrba writes: "This series speaks to the connection between an artist and a place of endless creative possibility." Titled Piano Farm, the complete body of work is available through Jennifer Schwartz Gallery at Atlanta's Brickworks.

[Lori Vrba, Sleeping Porch, 12 x 12 digital archival print | edition of 25, $250.]

Right now, Schwartz is also offering more budget-friendly editions of Vrba's work from the Southern Comfort series through The Ten, an online only gallery. The signed works spotlighted over at The Ten are available in relatively small editions of 25, in just one size and for one price, $250, with a new collection unveiled on the tenth of each month.

 [Lori Vrba, Quiet Strength, 12 x 12 digital archival print | edition of 25, $250.]

[Laura Griffin, Many Petals, 13 x 19 digital archival print | edition of 25, $250.]

The Ten archives include Laura Griffin's poetic series, The Comfort of Strangers, which began in 1999 when she found herself in very challenging, unfamiliar territory.  

[Jennifer Shaw, Wildflower 2006, 14x14 image on 16x20 inches paper, split-toned silver gelatin, edition of 25 starting at $600 unframed. Posted with permission from Jennifer Schwartz Gallery.]

As a fan of Jennifer Shaw's work, too (you may have read about the Southern fine art photographer's recently released book, Hurricane Story), I'm also linking to some of her Nature/Nurture pieces available through Schwartz's main gallery.

Loosely related past post: Barron Sighting.


Noteworthy Walls

 [Photos my own]

Contrasting with the swirly forms seen in the previous paisley post,  crisp and pointy arches punctuate John Portman's Gothic-inspired Dana Fine Arts Building for Agnes Scott College.

But I bet when Dana was very new, during the late-1960s through early 70s, a few paisley-clad art students passed through the arched entry of its two-story brick screen. It's that psychedelic Victorian-inspired paisley I want to address next. 

The detailed, 21st-century pictures of Portman's mesh-like screen I include as a follow up to this (and this, too). While the archival images in the 2009 post show the sleek side of the architecture, I hope my casual snaps convey the soft balance provided by the screen. Not only is it wonderful to see the play of sunlight, but also the airy, geometric pattern of bricks as a foil to the dense, curving magnolia branches. And I really have started documenting my world in the spirit of Sylvia Drew; Dana is just one part of it. But no watercolors yet -- so far I only have photos.



Paisley Study I

[Rock and Roll Rachel B Tana Lawn from the 2011 New Season Liberty Art Fabrics collection. Image via Liberty London.] 

For me, rich color is one of paisley's major draws, so, when I first flipped through my vintage find -- a copy of V & A curator John Irwin's The Kashmir Shawl published in the early 1970s -- I was disappointed by the small number of color illustrations.

But soon I noticed that all the black and white was causing me to focus on the incredible lines. Just to recap, the leaf-like or stylized teardrop now universally referred to as paisley is actually a "boteh" or "buta" in Kashmir, India, literally meaning flower. Irwin says that the floral motif became harder and formally stylized in the mid-18th century, and westerners eventually dubbed the design "cone" or "pine".  Paisley later became part of the vocabulary when wool shawls crafted in Paisley, Scotland (close copies of Kashmir patterns) took off.  

Irwin also explains that the cone (boteh) became increasingly abstract and elongated over time. By the mid-to-late-19th century it morphed into a "scroll-like unit as part of a complicated over-all pattern" with much of the textile's background color obscured.

To experience the fine details of these early drawings and photos of textiles, and to read the captions, please click the images and zoom in.